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Scent of Cedar 1

Scent of Cedar

The Friendly Beasts of Faraday Book 1

Scent of Cedar (2)

She needed a change of pace. . .

No one said anything about a friendly camel or a hunky mechanic

Cedar Haynes has a choice: change her high-pressure lifestyle, or end up dead by the time she’s thirty. Not one to do things by half measures, she quits her demanding corporate job, swaps her sports car for an SUV, and moves to the peaceful mountain community of Faraday. She envisions a quiet, peaceful Christmas, surrounding by silence and sparkling snow. When a camel takes up residence on her porch, she realizes small-town life may be more quirky and complicated than she imagined. Thankfully, the local mechanic seems to have all the answers – plus good looks, bad-boy charm, and a mysterious aura that leaves her wanting to know more.

Rhett Riggs left big city life behind the moment his small-town uncle needed his help. To make ends meet, he takes over Faraday’s one and only garage and gas station. He gets more than he bargained for, though, when Uncle Will passes away, leaving Rhett a run-down farmhouse, a wacky camel named Lolly, and a deep-rooted love for the community he considers his home. With the holidays approaching, he watches with interest as a new neighbor moves in next door. He waits for Lolly to send the woman running, like she has the last handful of residents. Only this time, if his beautiful neighbor leaves, she’ll take his heart with her.

Between spilled secrets, mistaken identities, and a camel determined to spread a little love, it will take more than mistletoe and holiday magic to help Rhett and Cedar find their happy ending.

Come along on a sweet Christmas romance adventure sure to uplift the spirit, touch the heart, and imbue the warmth of the holiday season.

Available on Amazon

 Scent of Cedar 2

Excerpt:

“I’m not losing my mind, I’m not losing it,” she chanted. Hesitantly, she opened her eyes and found herself staring once again into a hairy, hideous face.

She screamed louder this time as she raced to find the cell phone she’d tossed on the kitchen counter last night. Her fingers trembled as she punched in 9-1-1 and waited for an operator. Surely they had some sort of emergency response program in this tiny town, didn’t they?

Cedar slammed the kitchen window closed then frantically paced the floor, one hand flapping back and forth as though that might make someone answer faster. Finally, a voice came on the line.

“Operator 2377. What is your emergency?”

“Oh, thank goodness. My name is Cedar Haynes. I just moved to town, and there’s some kind of wild animal trying to get inside my house!”

“Wild animal, ma’am?” an unruffled voice questioned.

“Yes! A wild animal!” Cedar cautiously peered out the kitchen window. She caught sight of a furry backend stepping off the porch and disappearing around the corner. “It’s kind of brownish-tan, furry, big, and it smells weird.”

“What’s your address, ma’am?”

Cedar rattled off her street address, surprised she could remember it in her distraught state.

What sounded like a chuckle made her pull the phone away from her head and glare at it a moment before she scowled and returned it to her ear. “Hello?”

“Sorry, ma’am, but if you look out your kitchen window, can you see a big pasture and a red barn?”

Stunned by the fact the operator described the exact view she had from her kitchen, Cedar almost demanded to know how in the world the operator knew her home so well. Then again, she had moved to a small town where secrets were rare and everyone knew everyone else’s business. “Yes, I see the pasture and barn.”

The operator laughed. “That’s the old Bolton place. Will Bolton is known around here as an eccentric in everything from his house to his pets. You’ve just met Lolly, a unique welcoming party of one. She’s harmless, if not a bit frightening first thing in the morning.”

Cedar frowned. “Lolly? What’s a lolly?”

“A camel.”

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SBR long meme

I thought it might be nice to share the character inspiration from Sleigh Bells Ring.

These two characters are a little different because they aren’t a typical romance story couple. They are in their 70s.

If you’ve read the book, you know I mention Jess Milne looks like Harrison Ford. That’s because I really did use Harrison Ford for the inspiration.

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I mean… it’s Harrison Ford!

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How could Doris help but be charmed by the handsome rancher?

We first met Doris in Blown Into Romance. From the description there, we knew she had white hair and was a little feisty.

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That’s why I chose Honor Blackman (former Bond girl) as inspiration for Doris. She’s just perfect!

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And how could Jess be anything but smitten with her!

If you haven’t yet read the book, I hope you’ll give it a try, and the rest of the Christmas in Romance stories, too! You can read them all free with Kindle Unlimited!

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And find out more about the visual inspirations behind the story on Pinterest!

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I’m joining several authors for a Winter Wonderland Giveaway through Night Owl Romance. It kicks off Nov. 15! You can enter to win Amazon Gift Cards, a Kindle, or spa gifts!

Night Owl Romance offers reader scavenger hunt giveaway’s several times a year.

Join us on Monday 12.17.18 as we announce the winners in our party chat room. The event starts at 8 pm Eastern – 1.5 Hour Event. The first hour you meet the authors. Then Winners Announced. You do not have to attend the chat to win.

MEET THE AUTHORS & BOOKS

Choosing Heart or HomeHellboundHope at ChristmasDear SantaThe Beauty of ForeverRacing ChristmasOther ThanThe Holiday SpiritStorm CrossedEye of the EagleA Christmas Cowboy to KeepTempting PassionUnforeseen RiotHeiress's Royal Baby BombshellThe Good, the Bad, and the DukeThe Princess and the WolfJamie's GiftGhost of a ChanceThe Baby PlanStorm WatchViking King's VendettaChristmas at Mountain MistLucky TownVampire With Benefits

For more details, visit Night Owl Romance.

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Sleigh Bells Ring in Romance releases today!
Hooray!
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Join in the fun as six sweet romance authors celebrate the beginning of a brand-new holiday series – Christmas in Romance. Our release party will be held today from 5-7 p.m. (Central Time — which is 3-5 p.m. Pacific, 4-6 p.m. Mountain, and 6-8 p.m. Eastern).

You’ll find us talking about these six new novellas, giving away prizes and more tonight. I hope you’ll come check out what the buzz is all about! https://www.facebook.com/events/237499566929251/

The books will release one a day through Nov. 6. Sleigh Bells Ring in Romance is the first one to release.

SBR long meme
You’re never too old to fall in love . . .
Will two over-the-hill neighbors embrace a holiday romance?

Rancher Jess Milne lost his wife years ago, but he’s finally ready to give love a second chance. It’s a shame the one woman in Romance who captures his interest is a prickly, wasp-tongued she-devil. She used to be one of his closest friends until he asked her out. Her vocal, vehement refusal made her thoughts on dating him crystal clear. Despite her animosity, Jess can’t help but be attracted to her fire and spirit.

Widowed more than ten years, Doris Grundy tries to convince herself she’s content with her life. Her recently married grandson and his wife bring her joy. The ranch she’s lived on since she was a young bride gives her purpose. She’s an active member of their close-knit community. But the old coot who lives down the road continually invades her thoughts, keeping her from having any peace. Doris will be the last to admit she longs for the love and affection of her handsome neighbor.

When the two of them are unexpectedly thrown together, will they find a little holiday spirit and allow the love of the season to ring in their hearts?

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I just realized I never shared my character inspiration for Dream of Her Heart!

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Sorry!

So, when I was thinking about creating these two characters, I had fairly detailed ideas of how I wanted them to look (beyond what you see on the cover).

I pictured Zane West as someone rugged, handsome, charming, with a boyish appeal.

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The moment I saw Heath Hutchins, I knew he’d make a perfect Zane.

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Daring World War II pilot? Check.

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Good-looking country boy? Check.

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Eyes and a smile that could make girls swoon? Check and check!

From past stories in this series, we knew Billie Brighton is petite, blonde, and feisty.

Best 25+ Carry Underwood Hair Ideas On Pinterest | Carrie regarding Carrie Underwood Short Haircuts

Carrie Underwood seemed like a perfect choice to for Billie!

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From her sweet smile to the spunk that just radiates from her, I couldn’t think of anyone better to inspire Billie’s character.

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I could so picture her giving Zane (or the boys in the hospital) this look.

And my musical inspiration came from the awesome Michael Bublé, singing a vintage tune… The Very Thought of You.

Check out more details and visual inspiration on the Pinterest board, too!

Dream of Her Heart is available on Amazon.

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Since I’ve been sharing about projects I’m working on, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the conference I’m chairing this year.

Women Writing the West is an international non-profit organization of writers who tell the stories of the American West through non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.

The 24th annual conference will be held in Walla Walla, Washington, next month. Each year, the conference is held in a different location, and 2018 just happens to find the conference in southeastern Washington.

My friend Carmen Peone is president of the organization this year and when she asked me about chairing the conference I hesitated to jump right in. I’d co-chaired the conference back in 2015 with the awesome and incredible Jane Kirkpatrick. But Carmen won me over and here we are, a month away from the conference and neck deep in plans.

If everything comes together as it should, this will hopefully be a fun conference for all attending!

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Stack of books

Today, I’m sharing a little about some of my book projects that are in the works.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I recently signed a contract with TwoDot Books for a Christmas project for 2019. I’ve been frantically working on it the last month or two and will continue at a hectic pace to wrap it all up by the end of the year. It truly is so much fun for me because it combines so many things that I love: cowboys, cooking, baking, decorating, Christmas, entertaining, gift-wrapping (yes, I love to wrap gifts and I know I’m weird!).

In addition to that project, I have eight (that’s right EIGHT) new sweet romances releasing between next week and Christmas.

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Dream of Her Heart releases Sept. 27 and is book three in the Hearts of the War series set during World War II.

This book pulled me back into research from the 1940s (which I enjoy so much), and allowed me to revisit the characters from the first two stories, tying them together in a fun way.

Just because… here’s a little teaser from the book:

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Drops of rain started to fall and she looked up as Zane stepped in front of her.

“Care to dance with me?” he asked, holding out his hands.

Billie knew the smart thing to do was to climb in the car, shut the door, and wait for him to drive her home. But her heart overruled her head.

“I’d like that,” she said in a low voice she barely recognized as her own. Zane swept her into his arms as the singer on the radio crooned “The Very Thought of You.”

While a soft spring rain fell around them, Zane danced her around in circles, humming along to the song. Billie wondered if he had any idea what he was doing to her. The damage the romantic song with the even more romantic moment was inflicting on her heart.

“It’s just the thought of you,” he whispered as the singer sang the last line of the song.

One moment they were dancing and the next Zane had bracketed her face with his hands and was kissing the rain drops from her eyelids, her cheeks, her lips.

The second his mouth brushed hers, Billie felt the impact of the touch throughout every cell of her body. When he wrapped her in his arms and lifted her up, she slid her arms around his neck and gave herself over to the passionate exchange.

Oh, the man could kiss! His lips tantalized hers in a dance far more exquisite than any their feet might have executed. And he tasted heavenly — rich, dark, and decidedly decadent.

In that moment, Billie knew she was lost. Lost to emotions she hadn’t anticipated, to a love she’d most certainly not expected. Lost to the possibilities of what the future might hold with Zane by her side.

You can pre-order the book today.

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The rest of the of the books that are heading your way are Christmas stories!

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November 8 is my fifth annual Cowboys and Christmas release party that not only helps raise funds and awareness for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, but also celebrates the release of a new holiday book.

This year, the book releasing that date is the sixth book in the Rodeo Romance series! It’s titled Racing Christmas.

The story is about a barrel racer and a pickup man. She hates him, he’s never gotten over his love for her. Should make for some fun reading, don’t you think?

Stay tuned… I’ll have a cover reveal and more info about Racing Christmas soon!

Well, that covers two books. You’re probably wondering about the other six, right?

Four of the books are a new holiday series I’m super-duper excited about. I’ve been wanting to write this series for the past three years and just never managed to work them into my schedule. So I began this year by spending January writing them. The books are full of laughs and love and heartwarming moments. And animals. Did I mention wacky, crazy, lovable animals who almost steal the show?

I hope you’ll fall in love with them as much as I have. If you want to get the first look at this series, be sure to attend my Cowboys and Christmas release party where I’ll do a cover reveal and share more about the stories.

Then there were two… more projects.

I’m working with five other authors on an awesome holiday series and although I can’t tell you anything about it today, I can on Oct 1, so be sure to check back then!

And last, but not least, I plan to release another book in the Hardman Holidays series. I have yet to write said book, so I have no idea on the release date, but if all goes well, it will be early December! If you have any characters you are particularly interested in seeing in this book, let me know!

So there you have it… the many book projects I’m working on right now!

 

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